Natural Immune Boosters ~ Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey pic

Welcome to the third installment of my ten-part series on natural immune boosters. If you read the news, you could almost become afraid to walk out your door for fear of potential epidemics. In addition to “super bugs” that are antibiotic resistant – like MRSA – there are now reports of people contracting dangerous enterovirus 68 and even Ebola. Although practicing good hygiene (hand washing, sneezing into your sleeve, etc.) is important, there is nothing more important than making sure your immune system is working at optimum capacity. Incorporating these natural immune boosters  into your daily regimen of getting plenty of sleep and nutritious food will help your immune system do what it was created to do – fight the bad guys. One way to help your immune system is by eating manuka honey.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical practitioner of any kind, and this series of articles on natural immune boosters is not intended to diagnose or attempt to cure any disease. This series is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, please see your medical practitioner for professional advice.

Manuka honey is a special kind of honey with very special qualities. It’s made from the nectar that bees collect from the manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium) found predominantly in New Zealand. (Manuka honey is also found in Tasmania, but New Zealand is responsible for the greatest commercial production.) This honey differs from regular honey in that it is a stronger antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic food. It is also an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, stomach-healing, wound-repairing miracle sweetener.

Like other honeys, manuka honey contains the enzyme glucose oxidase, which produces a natural hydrogen peroxide (an antiseptic with antibacterial qualities). However, it contains this enzyme in a higher amount than in other honeys. In addition, methyglyoxal (MG), the major antibacterial component in honey, is found in substantial quantity in manuka honey versus regular honey. The MG comes from the conversion of dihydroxy acetone found in high concentrations in the manuka flower nectar. The higher the concentration of MG, the greater the antibacterial factor. The MG in manuka honey is so substantial, it’s actually measured.

The potency of MG is measured as the Universal Manuka Factor, or UMF. On all jars of manuka honey, you will find a UMF factor of 5+, 10+, 15+, or 20+. (There is also an official UMF registered trademark from the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, or UMFHA.) To be therapeutic, manuka honey must have a minimum UMF of 10+.

As a note, you may also see manuka honey labeled as UMF manuka honey or active manuka honey. The ratings will be shown as UMF 5+ – 20+ or the equivalent rating of NPA 5+ – 20+. A different rating system is called the MGO rating (methyglyoxal rating); it will usually be MGO 200+ (equivalent to UMF 10+) or MGO 400+ (equivalent to UMF 20+).

It’s important to look for legitimate sources of manuka honey. Some manuka trees don’t produce nectar with the UMF property or the UMF levels can vary. The honey will reflect whatever the tree produces. A reputable company will be sure the UMF in the honey is measured and marked appropriately on each jar.

Another unique quality of UMF is that it is very stable. Unlike the ingredients in other honey, the UMF in manuka honey will not be as easily destroyed by light, heat, or enzymes in the body.

Here are some common uses for manuka honey, several of which are being studied by scientists (see my source links below):

  • Wound dressing for cuts and burns (doctors use a medical grade manuka honey that is specially sterilized)
  • Flu, colds, coughs
  • Increased immunity
  • Gingervitis & periodontal disease, decreasing plaque (ongoing study now)
  • Skin rashes & ailments (i.e., eczema, hives, etc.)
  • Tonsilitis
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis

WARNING: People who are allergic to bee stings should not eat manuka honey (or any honey) without a doctor’s approval. Also, daily intake of manuka honey is not recommended for diabetics due to its high level of methylglyoxal.

Manuka honey seems to be a miraculous substance! It is very expensive compared to regular honey — being made from only one plant from a country on the other side of the world and tested in a lab for UMF — but it’s not more expensive than some people’s monthly prescription fees. It’s all in how you look at it. For me, I want to try to have at least one jar in my farmacy. I think a spoonful a day of manuka honey will keep the doctor away.

Have you ever tried manuka honey?





For further information on manuka honey, please visit these sites which I read in preparation for this post:











2 comments on “Natural Immune Boosters ~ Manuka Honey

  1. Nice to see Manuka getting the recognition it deserves! However, the only thing that wasn’t accurate in the article was where you said UMF determines the potency of quality Manuka honey. UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) is a company that trademarks Manuka honey and is not an official standard in any way for determining potency of Manuka, and in fact sets the stage for manipulating the honey, since the testing method involves heating, which also automatically alters the contents of the honey and could affect the valuable enzymes.

    So in perspective, when people print this type of information, they are essentially advertising for UMF. For example, it would be like you stating in an article that Coca Cola is the only type of quality soda out there (while we know soda is terrible this the only comparison I could think of at the moment).

    • Thank you for your comment. I read quite a few websites (even more than the links I posted), and UMF was mentioned on all of them. One of them included the other methods of measuring (which I included in the article). Do you have a link that that talks about what you said? I’d love to have that listed, as well.

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